Notes: Easygoing Joh earns second Futures win

Tiffany Joh

Tiffany Joh

Few players on any professional tour have more character than Tiffany Joh, the former UCLA Bruin who has been bouncing back and forth between the LPGA and Futures Tours this year. Joh earned her second career Futures victory July 3 at the rain-shortened South Shore Championship.

Joh, of San Diego, finished at 6-under 138 at White Hawk Country Club in Crowne Point, Ind., and managed to hold off a charge from Tiffany Tavee and Jane Rah. Both pursuers shot a final-round 69.

“Honestly, I’m just really tired because this is my fifth week in a row, but I said ‘let’s just try to play this week,’” said Joh, who arrived in Indiana off a T-25 finish at last week’s Wegmans LPGA Championship. “I didn’t really expect anything, so I’m surprised and ecstatic to win.”

The event was shortened to 36 holes after heavy rain wiped out Friday’s second round. Tavee, Rah and Mallory Blackwelder played in the early wave, then had to wait as Joh finished her round, edging them by a single stroke.

“I had no clue,” Joh said of how the leaderboard looked. “But a win is a win. I’ll take it.”

Next up for a Joh is a well-deserved week of rest at home in California.

–The LPGA Futures Tour contributed to this report.

• • •

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Jackie Barenborg and Alex Buelow

Alex Buelow and Jackie Barenborg are just a couple of Florida girls, giving true meaning to the term “road trip.” With their cars packed for a summer-long jaunt across much of the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, Buelow and Barenborg are living the LPGA Futures Tour dream.

Barenborg, a 2009 graduate of Florida Southern, insists she is anything but old hat at cross-country travel, but she did have some pointers for Buelow when the two decided to traverse the plains together this summer. The first suggestion? Take separate cars. The next? Stick to your own practice schedule.

“It’s almost like freshman year of college, where you’re learning the dos and don’ts,” she said. “... I had some rough experiences out here last year just with some housing and traveling and playing three practice rounds and way overpracticing and overanalyzing.”

In her second year on the Futures Tour, Barenborg has toned down her hours at the course, realizing everyone needs a break from work. That’s where Buelow comes in. Having met each other as junior golfers in Florida, the two have been each other’s home away from home.

“It’d kind of nice because she’s a great player and we kind of feed off each other,” Barenborg said.

As for Buelow, filing away all this insider information will come in especially handy after she finishes her senior season at Stetson next year and can commit to a pro career full time. Buelow earned status through Futures Tour Q-School in the fall, and is playing a full schedule on the developmental tour right beside Barenborg. She’s one of few amateurs to play a full Futures season.

“The few that I have met on tour this year that did play as an amateur said that they benefitted so much from that experience because they were able to play before it was their livelihood, before they were depending on the paychecks week in and week out,” she explained.

Buelow and Barenborg haven’t stayed in a hotel yet this summer, returning to visit host families with which Barenborg stayed last year. Aside from the occassional navigation snafoo – one particular GPS nightmare landed the pair on a dirt-paved road that led to a heavily wooded area – the summer so far has gone swimmingly.

“We’re not used to the roads and the routes, but we’ve had such a blast together on tour so far,” Buelow said. “I’m sure we’ll have even more fun in the next few weeks.”

• • •

Don’t ask Lisa Ferrero just what, exactly, has caused her success this year. However, if you did, you certainly wouldn’t be the first.

The two-time Futures Tour winner has fielded that question many times so far this season, and says she doesn’t really have a good answer for it. But for the record, chalk her hot season up to improved confidence, and maybe even a few more coaches in her corner.

Ferrero, a self-described feel player, now has swing coach Tommy Masters and sports psychologist Glen Albaugh in her camp.

“Most people have that all the time but I decided to commit fully to that and then commit to a full Futures schedule so it was either a make-or-break season,” she explained. “I was either going to do it or figure out what I wanted to do other than playing golf.”

Ferrero, who is in her seventh season on the Futures Tour, earned her first victory at the Symetra Classic in San Antonio. It was especially satisfying for Ferrero, who played collegiately at Texas, to get her first Futures near her old college town.

“I have a lot of friends still (in Austin) from school even though I moved back home to California,” she said. “I was telling some of my friends that week, it would be so cool to do something so close to where I went to college and stuff. All the fans in Texas (are crazy) about any sport.”

Ferrero’s outlook was decidedly different when she stepped to the tee six weeks later in Mason, Ohio for the Teva Championship. After a second win, she is atop the Futures Tour money list.

Ferrero knows there still is plenty of work left for him during the remainder of the season, but after putting in her time on the developmental tour, she hopes it’s time to move up to the next level.

“It would be great to look forward to the LPGA tour, I know I still have a lot of work left to do out here,” she said. “To have a full card would be huge, just to be able to play every week, to have a full schedule and be able to know where you’re going.”

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